Kepler Update: Earth's 'Bigger and Older Cousin' Discovered Orbiting Distant Star

Artist’s conception of Kepler-452b, the first near-Earth-sized exoplanet discovered orbiting in the habitable zone of a Sun-like star. Image Credit: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

One of the primary goals in the search for exoplanets is to, hopefully, find an Earth analog or “Earth twin,” an alien world similar to our own. That search is still […]

NASA Space Telescope Sees Possible X-Ray 'Screams' From Zombie Stars

Illustration showing the central region of our galaxy as seen by NuSTAR (magenta circle). The smaller circle shows where the image was taken. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

It sounds like something from a bad sci-fi movie, but a NASA space telescope has detected what might be the X-ray “screams” from dead (zombie) stars. The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope […]

'Old Earths': The Search for Ancient and Habitable (But Dying) Exoplanets

Illustration depicting the life cycle of Sun-like stars. Billions of years from now, our own Sun will expand into a red giant star, scorching any life that exists. Image Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

Researchers at Cornell University are taking a new approach to the search for alien life: looking for habitable planets older than Earth, […]

Astronomers Detect Complex Organics Around Nearby Young Star; Produce Them in Simulated Conditions in the Lab

Artist’s impression of the protoplanetary disk surrounding the young star MWC 480. Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, or ALMA, have detected the complex organic molecule methyl cyanide in the outer reaches of the star’s protoplanetary disk, where comets are believed to form. This discovery suggests that complex organic chemistry and potentially the […]

Hubble and Chandra Unveil Mysteries Concerning Dark Matter

From HubbleSite: “This collage shows images of six different galaxy clusters taken with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory. The clusters were observed in a study of how dark matter in clusters of galaxies behaves when the clusters collide. Seventy-two large cluster collisions were studied in total. Using visible-light images from Hubble, […]

Kepler Discovers Three Super-Earth Exoplanets Orbiting Nearby Star

Cartoon illustration depicting how the three newly-found planets’ shadows (right side) can be seen as eclipses from Earth (left side) as they transit in front of their star. Image Credit: K. Teramura, UH IfA.

Last week was a good one for exoplanet enthusiasts, with yet more news relating to how other worlds are now […]

New Dust Map of Galaxy Casts Doubts on Gravitational Waves Discovery

All-sky map of interstellar dust from Planck. Blue areas have less dust and red areas have more. The patch of sky observed by BICEP2 is not in one of the less dusty regions. Northern hemisphere is on the left and southern is on the right. Image Credit: ESA

As sometimes happens, the celebrations may […]

Bizarre Universe: Massive Black Hole In Tiny Galaxy and Exoplanet That Makes Its Star Act Older Than It Is

Artist’s concept of the massive black hole in the dwarf galaxy M60-UCD1. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, STScI-RCC14-41a

The universe is a wild and weird place, and two recent findings from orbiting space telescopes illustrate just how bewildering it can be: a monster-sized black hole in one of the tiniest galaxies known and a huge exoplanet that is […]

Gaia En-Route to L2 for Five-Year Mission of Astronomical Discovery

Characterized by the bulbous payload fairing, which encapsulates Gaia, Europe’s space observatory takes flight on Thursday, 19 December, from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana. Photo Credit: Arianespace/Mike Barrett

Yesterday’s successful launch of the ambitious Gaia mission for the European Space Agency (ESA) has set another spacecraft en-route for the Earth-Sun L2 […]

Spitzer Space Telescope Celebrates 10 Years of Astronomical Discovery

The infrared vision of NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed that the Sombrero galaxy—named after its appearance in visible light to a wide-brimmed hat—is in fact two galaxies in one. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Ten years ago tonight, NASA’s fourth “Great Observatory”—the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF)—was boosted into orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force […]